A revolutionary material light as plastic but stronger than steel

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A scientific miracle is recently published on Nature.
Scientists at MIT have developed an entirely new material, called 2DPA-1, which is four times stronger than bulletproof glass and twice as hard as steel, but only 1/6 in dense.
The most surprising thing is that it is only as light as plastic.
The new material is extremely strong and lightweight. And, it can be used as coatings for phones, automobile parts, and even construction materials.

Pic courtesy:https://news.mit.edu/2022/polymer-lightweight-material-2d-0202

In the past, polymers are one-dimensional structures such as plastics and rubbers in our daily lives.
They are essentially single molecular chains. It is light, but there are gaps between the molecules.
Air can pass through the one-dimensional polymer from the gaps.
That's why when you put food in plastic bags, you can still smell the tempting smell from the outside.

Pic courtesy:https://t.cj.sina.com.cn/articles/view/5899531978/15fa3b6ca01900xvop


Scientists have been trying to form two-dimensional polymers for decades, but they have failed.
The reason is that if there is a single monomer that does not move according to the rules and starts to deviate and rotate from the left and right, the structure will be destroyed.

This time,  Prof. Michael S. Strano and his colleagues have finally pushed the envelope.
They created the new material with a compound: Melamine.
Melamine has a structure of carbon and nitrogen rings, and the monomers can grow in two dimensions to form disks, which are stacked on top of each other. The hydrogen bonds between the layers are stably connected, and the structure becomes very strong.
It's like all the children sitting in a row on the playground, holding hands, then leaning against each other, and locked together like Lego blocks, and can't be separated again.
Thus, the new two-dimensional polymers were born.
This new material is lightweight as plastic but it's stronger than steel.
The monomers are firmly locked together. Neither air nor water molecules can penetrate it. It is the reason it can be used as a natural barrier.

Now, scientists are already working on the applications of the new material for coatings and membranes. They will further make structural adjustments to apply the new generation polymers for nanofiltration and air separation applications.



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